Today is the last day of the Anchorage Parade of Homes with 23 entries open from noon to 6 pm.  So, put down your coffee cup, take that last bite of Fire Island’s savory scone, or for me,  the buckwheat cinnamon roll, cut in half and shared with my husband, and head on out to see what’s the latest in new home opportunities.

     The online national builder magazine recently categorized 14 trends to look for.  The first is scale and function or, in lay man’s terms, ‘small’ is better. It’s not all about square footage.  Following up on that trend, this Parade has no million dollar homes.  Boomers, empty nesters and Gen Y all want outdoor space that is private. In other words, the fenced backyard visible to your neighbors is no longer desirable.  Instead, look for covered or enclosed decks and larger windows.  This goes right along with indoor/outdoor connectivity and covered outdoor rooms.  These three trends are hard for Anchorage builders and homeowners to accomplish with our habitual rainy season, heavy snowfall and darkness.  But, the goal is “to make the interior feel like it extends beyond the walls,” to quote Builder Magazine.

     Whether it’s because of HGTV or Pinterest, even the production builder needs to learn how to accomplish the personal touches buyers are not only requesting but demanding.  Whether it’s the craftsman style or the cool modern penthouse look, buyers know what they want and if the builder is not willing to give it to them, they will move on to one that will.

     The frozen TV dinner may be passé but take-out and home delivery will never take the place of the ‘super’ kitchen.  Even if you never use it, buyers want it because it serves as an entertainment and conversation area.  Double ovens, vegetable prep sinks, and the Costco pantry (with or without the frosted door) are all must-haves.

     And then there are the spa-like master baths with sleek lines, cool green colors.  Forget brown tile.  It’s all about white, green and gray.  Rainfall shower heads, tile surrounds with benches and a window to the wilderness.   Separate vanities and appliance garage on sleek granite or quartz countertops and custom mirrors.  No more plate glass mirrors, please.  

     For a single family home, everyone wants four bedrooms, not for the kids but for the Alaskan guest who stays a little too long or the home office which is moving closer to the center of activity, i.e. the kitchen.  How you use the ‘fourth’ bedroom becomes a living lifestyle choice.

     Finally, because I am running out of space, there is the GARAGE.  I’ve bolded and capped that word because in Alaska, everyone has toys and a muscle truck. Garages are expensive in Alaska because unlike the Lower 48, they must be heated.  But, that doesn’t keep buyers from adding more and more square footage to them.  This year, we’ve seen several custom home buyers with 1,000 square foot garages.  It’s the ‘man cave’ dream with toilet, TV hook-ups, painted and textured walls, and even private decks.

     So, put on your slip-on shoes and go take a look at Anchorage’s new home selections.